Posts Categorized: Conservation and Stewardship



Mount Tecumseh, 4000 Footers Hiking List

The village of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire during the autumn months. Mt Tecumseh is in the background. This mountain is named for the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh  (c.1768–1813).
Mount Tecumseh (2012) – Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
 

Mount Tecumseh, 4000 Footers Hiking List – On the same day that I publicized my Owl’s Head, Conserving Wilderness article, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) posted an article about some of the mountains on the White Mountain 4000 footers hiking list may not be over 4,000 feet. Being over 4,000 feet is one of the criteria for a mountain to be on the list. While our articles focus on different mountains on the hiking list, they both suggest that the time is coming for the AMC 4000 footer club to reevaluate the hiking list.

Lidar, a laser based technology, is currently being used to remap the White Mountains. This technology is very accurate at determining mountain elevations. And it was made public that the Lidar data is indicating that at least one mountain, Mount Tecumseh, is under the 4,000 foot criteria. According to the data Tecumseh is 3,995 feet, not 4,003 feet. Will the Lidar data reveal that Mount Isolation (4,004 feet) and Mount Waumbek (4,006 feet) are also below the 4,000 foot criteria?

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Owl’s Head, Conserving Wilderness

Owls Head and the Pemigewasset Wilderness from the Franconia Ridge Trail in New Hampshire.
Owl's Head from Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire
 

Owl’s Head, Conserving Wilderness – This remote 4025-foot mountain in the western region of the federally designated Pemigewasset Wilderness creates much debate. The controversy isn’t really about Owl’s Head its more about wilderness management. Hikers unhappy with the management of the Pemigewasset Wilderness use Owl’s Head as a stepping stone to criticize the Wilderness Act.

Established in 1984 under the New Hampshire Wilderness Act, the 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness is managed under the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act. Considered to be one of the greatest conservation laws ever passed, the Wilderness Act has protected over 109 million acres across the United States. And yet some are against the Wilderness Act.

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Trail Construction, White Mountains

Trail Construction - Rerouted section (left) of the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.
September 2011, Mt Tecumseh Trail – Trail Construction
 

Trail Construction and Maintenance, White Mountains – In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused massive destruction along the East coast of the United States. The White Mountain National Forest was officially closed during the storm. Many trails in the White Mountains were damaged, and required extensive trail work. And this series of photos shows the trail work done to one trail that suffered storm damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

A section of the Mt Tecumseh Trail washed out and had to be rerouted. The above photo shows the junction of the trail reroute (left), and the section of trail that washed out (right) shortly after a Maine Forest Service crew cut the reroute in 2011. Forest Service chose the reroute location and marked it, and a Maine Forest Service crew, helping reopen trails damaged from Irene, did the cutting. The closed section of trail was also brushed in. This information is direct from Forest Service. Note the tree in the reroute (left) with the orange flagging on it.

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Definition of Wilderness, White Mountains

Definition of Wilderness, Owls Head from the Franconia Ridge Trail (Appalachian Trail), near Little Haystack Mountain, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire during the last days of summer.
Owls Head – Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire
 

Definition of Wilderness, White Mountains – I am currently working on a project that has brought me back into the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This wilderness is governed under the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act of 1964. And because it is designated wilderness, it has the highest level of protection for federal lands. The recreational opportunities, historical value, and educational platform the Pemigewasset Wilderness offers will educate outdoor enthusiasts for many years to come. It is important that visitors to the region know that the six designated wilderness areas in the White Mountain National Forest are managed differently than the rest of the National Forest. This is where the Wilderness Act comes into play.

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Trail Blazing, Trail Stewardship

A properly applied trail blaze along the Artist's Bluff Path in  White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Proper Trail Blaze – Artist's Bluff Path, New Hampshire
 

Trail Blazing, Trail Stewardship – Painted trail blazing (paint marks on trees that mark the path of a trail) along the White Mountains trail system is an endless complaint among outdoor enthusiasts. Either the trail is excessively blazed or not blazed enough. I don’t mind the trails that have little trail blazing, but I'm not a fan of the excessive trail blazing.

Proper trail blazing protocol seems to vary among the trail maintenance organizations, but the ending result is the same. Most of these organizations agree that a standard trail blaze is a two inch by six inch rectangle placed about head height on trees. No painting of arrows, only a single vertical blaze, should be painted on a tree. For more information on blazing see the Randolph Mountain Club’s trail blazing protocol page.

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Trail Ladders & Stairs, Trail Stewardship

Franconia Notch State Park - Trail ladder along the Hi-Cannon Trail. This trail leads to the summit of Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA.
Traditional Ladder – Hi-Cannon Trail, Cannon Mountain
 

Trail Ladders & Stairs, Trail Stewardship – Today’s blog article focuses on a keyword search term. I chose one search term, trail ladder, and searched my image archive to see what imagery I have available that represents this area of trail stewardship. And because staircases and ladders are often considered to be one and the same among some hikers, I have included trail staircases.

Here in the New Hampshire White Mountains, we have some steep trails. And if it wasn’t for trail ladders we would have a heck of a time hiking up and down some trails. Can you imagine ascending or descending the Six Husbands Trail or the Hi-Cannon Trail without ladders? Six Husbands Trail would be interesting.

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Pemigewasset Wilderness, Conservation Success

A hiker takes in the view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness from the summit of Zeacliff during the summer months. This viewpoint offers an excellent view of the wilderness area.
Pemigewasset Wilderness from Zeacliff, New Hampshire
 

Pemigewasset Wilderness, Conservation Success – The 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness is the result of one the greatest conservation laws ever passed; The Wilderness Act. Unlike in today’s world where everyone wants to gut the Wilderness Act for selfish reasons, the creators of the Wilderness Act were truly concerned about the well being of our wild places. The Wilderness Act has protected over 109 million acres across the United States.

Some of you may recognize the above image from Zeacliff Mountain because a similar image is on the cover of the 29th edition of the AMC White Mountain Guide. I look at this image from time to time and think about the solitude I have found in the Pemigewasset Wilderness over the years. I also try to imagine how the Pemigewasset Wilderness would look if it was a 45,000-acre condo development.

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